Fried Food Bonanza at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk + Earth Day
Just returned from taking my children to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk – something I have been able to avoid doing for years. My 9-year-old, Guèrin, was adamant that this year he was going – with or without me. Friends suggested I acquiesce so he’d have a “good thing” to look forward to. Me, the environmentalist, was not sure it was a “good thing” at all.
I don’t like big commercial anything, plastic, and artificial amusement. I am all for a good time! However, in this case, I knew the food situation alone would have me disturbed. The first pass walking through the amusement park was a hard go. The flashing lights, plastic everywhere, fake food, and a lot of people spending money on things I subjectively didn’t believe were healthy was hard to take. My two oldest stepped in to lead the charge with their younger sibling, knowing full well I was struggling. Once I caught my breath, I walked through with another environmentalist. He was not struggling the way I was, but was willing to discuss what was on my mind. As a strategist, I’m looking for ways to communicate authentically to reach people to help educate hoping those messages will be acted upon for greater health, wellness, and for the environment. The problem is, as we all know, when we think of only ourselves and survival of our own person or those close to us only, we’re going to have a negative impact on others and the environment. It takes making it bigger than all of us individually, and it is. If I were to swap out every food stand with sustainable food and zero waste serving pieces, that would be a great start. Swap the plastic toys and games for good old fashioned ones with wholesome prizes? The rides, hm, not sure what could be done there. But that isn’t really doing enough to address the basic problem. If you are living without the big picture and you can’t envision how to afford it or do it and still enjoy life, any messaging is not going to create positive change.
As much as I love the idea of the free market system, and allowing enterprise to work the way it has in industrialized nations, it seems evident that systems must be in place to mitigate environmental damage that is hurting the planet, people, and is putting in jeopardy a sustainable life on Earth long term. I do not believe this is a partisan issue even though it has been made one. Republicans were the early environmentalists in the US. We need to find middle ground and see that our values are to create a healthy, vibrant, environmentally sound country and world for all living things. There is no religion or belief-system that I know of that condones destruction of the Earth, resources, and life. We must find a way. Our government will need to lead the charge with each of us opting in. Our companies will have to make the numbers work creatively. We need to have faith in our country and others in our intelligence, creativity, and ability to solve complex problems for good. There can be no other shared common interest and goal that should come before this. It is our responsibility as gifted as we are to be here to live wisely and do the right thing. Happy Earth Day!